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Trickery | Vaseline Resist Technique


Well, I received another oh-crap-call from Lucketts on Saturday.  The Painted Empire dresser sold the day after I brought it in.


I guess I wasn’t the only one in love with that finish!  Here’s how I did it…

I’ve heard about using Vaseline (petroleum jelly) as a paint resist for a while, but I never tried it.  On this empire dresser, I pictured layers of blue and wanted to have clear definition between the two colors.  This seemed like a good piece to test it out on.  I painted the first coat of paint in Flow Blue with the bonding agent added to all of the paint except for what I used on the drawers (I wanted some selective chippiness.)  I then rubbed some Vaseline over the edges of the piece and around some of the key holes and other random spots.


I don’t think there’s a specific time frame to let the Vaseline sit before painting on the second coat, but I decided to wait about an hour to give it some time to dry.


I painted on a second coat, this time in French Enamel without the bonding agent added.  I brushed the paint on gently where the Vaseline had been applied.  On the drawers where the bonding agent wasn’t used, Milk Paint did its wonderful chippy thing…


…and where the Vaseline was…


…total coolness.


When I sanded the piece with a medium grit sanding sponge, the French Enamel paint that was over the Vaseline came off, showing the Flow Blue underneath.  That, combined with the chippiness where the bonding agent wasn’t used and the places I sanded the paint down to the wood made a very interesting finish that looked as if it had developed over time.


I wiped the surface with a cloth (it was a little gummy where the Vaseline was) and then applied one coat of Furniture Wax.


I can’t wait to try this bit of trickery again!

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  1. Marion, That piece is so awesome, I’m speechless! You would never know it’s not old paint! Just told my hubby I want your book for Christmas…can’t wait to read it! Happy Blessed Thanksgiving to you!

  2. Marian, thanks for sharing this great tip. I’ve tried using clear wax as a resist and haven’t had much luck. I’ll try this next time! Wishing your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing. I recently heard about this technique but I had done any research on it yet. Now I can follow along with your tutorial. I can’t wait to try it.

  4. I LOVE everything about that dresser. Thanks for sharing the Vaseline tip! I can’t wait to try this technique on something! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  5. I love it! I’ve also heard that you can also wax instead of vaseline.

  6. Lorna says:

    Marion, you are just a storehouse of great ideas. I love the way this one turned out. Spectacular!

  7. OH this is perfect! I have the ideal candidate for this treatment!! In fact more than one… an old iron bed frame and a metal cabinet, oh and a vanity turned desk. Thank you so very much!

  8. This is a fantastic tip! I know that “oh crap” feeling. I only have 4 days a month to deal with it, but it is a revolving door of filling up my space. Good luck with all your holiday happenings!

  9. I think this has to be one of my favorites… only thing is, i have ALOT of favorites when it comes to your painted pieces!


  10. I refuse to disclose how I know this, but Bag Balm is a handy-dandy substitute for the Vaseline (coff) 😀

  11. Linda says:

    this is exactly the technique i needed some help on. thank you! it looks so good!

  12. Tina Emenes says:

    What a great trick Marion, I have used bee’s wax before but Vaseline is sooo cheap!

  13. Shannon says:

    This is a beautiful piece! I haven’t tried Vaseline, but I can tell you that chapstick works really well! You can dab it on exactly where you want it and even hit the corners and edges precisely! It cleans up rather nicely too :)

  14. I love, love this. It’s so awesome!! Thanks for sharing your technique. I have to try this.

  15. Susan Burris says:

    That is so cool! I found an antique Buffet for $50.00 at an estate sale the other day and I think I might try that. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Barbara Bussey says:

    I’ve used the hemp oil as a resist, but find that it almost leave an oil stain around the edges of the resist. I don’t see that happening here and will try it next time. The Empire style of dresser is my all-time favorite and this is beautiful.

  17. Kristine says:

    Hi, I so love this dresser, the colors and everything, I have a piece of furniture that i need to paint and really want it to look just like this, can you help me and let me know where you got these paints? Please. Thanks so much Kristine
    my email address is attached to this, hope to hear from you soon, as I need to get started on it this week if possible.

  18. Mrs T says:

    Dear Marion

    Thank you for sharing this, I was wondering if you could tell me if the handles/knobs are reproductions and if so do you by chance know the suppliers. I am now inspired to paint a piece of furniture in my home and have fallen in love with the handles/knobs in your photo. Once Again thank you for sharing this technique.

  19. Sandra Hodnett says:

    Great post, so ready to try this!!
    I am just curious if it’s the regular Vaseline you are using that you get at the pharmacy etc.
    Thank You for an answer

  20. What is the bonding agent and it he purpose of it ? I could not clink on the tutorials in above comments using Vaseline. Any suggestions?


  1. […] Vaseline Resist Technique from Miss Mustard Seed Helping along the vintage look when painting furniture […]

  2. […] One last thing… There are also all kinds of tricks to getting crackled or unqiue patchy chippy looks with milk paint by using resistance such as vaseline or hemp oil.  Marian goes into details of using resistance or “trickery” in this great post here. […]

  3. […] a blue like the blue on this dresser from Miss Mustard Seed (without all of the heavy distressing, of […]

  4. […] applied Vaseline and a coat of Boxwood.  (You can see a tutorial for the Vaseline resist technique HERE.)  And this is the […]

  5. […] I then added Vaseline to the edges and a few other places where paint might naturally wear away over time.  (You can see a tutorial on the technique HERE.) […]

  6. […] the tutorial on the technique I used for this dresser.  You can also find detailed “recipes” for other layered looks […]

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